Rankings of Over 1,400 Colleges and Universities Based on Highest Earnings Potential Released by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

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Ratings adjusted for majors, student’s academic preparation and graduate degree attainment

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Following the U.S. Department of Education’s release of the College Scorecard, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) has developed a new set of rankings by highest earnings of former students of more than 1,400 four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Ranking Your College: Where You Go and What You Make provides students and families with a list of colleges with the highest earnings potential.

The report also includes rankings that correct for differences in earnings among the schools, including majors, student’s academic preparation before starting college and the likelihood of graduate degree attainment. The base rankings, which focus on earnings 10 years after students begin their studies, do not factor in the composition of majors and include both graduates and non-graduates.

The Georgetown Center researchers provide three different sets of rankings for schools yielding the highest salaries. The first focuses purely on earnings. The top-rated school is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) whose students earn $91,600 per year, followed by the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Harvard University.

The second set of rankings adjusts for the choice of major or program, since field of study has a huge effect on earnings potential. The potential wages differ substantially for STEM and childhood education majors at mid-career. This ranking adjusts for differences in the major composition of colleges’ undergraduate student population to provide a better sense of differences in institutional quality rather than in labor market returns of majors offered at different institutions. Harvard University, Georgetown University and the University of Colorado-Denver top the list in this set of rankings.

The third set of rankings accounts for differences caused by student’s academic preparation and whether they earn a graduate degree following completion of a Bachelor’s degree. Graduate degrees lead to 28 percent higher earnings than Bachelor’s degrees alone. The top-ranking college in this set was the University of Colorado-Denver, followed by Georgetown University and the University of the Pacific.

The full report and list of more than 1,400 schools of Ranking Your College: Where You Go and What You Make is available online at http://cew.georgetown.edu/collegerankings.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce is an independent, nonprofit research and policy institute that studies the link between individual goals, education and training curricula, and career pathways. The Georgetown Center is affiliated with the Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy. For more information, visit: cew.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter @GeorgetownCEW and on Facebook.

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Hilary Strahota
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
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